When it first appeared in 1986, BMW enthusiasts knew that with the BMW M5, BMW had created not only a special car, but a special kind of car. Now in its sixth generation, the latest M5 continued the model’s tradition of impressing owners, fans, automotive journalists, and industry professionals when it was named the 2018 World Performance Car at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

The F90 BMW M5 is the fastest and most technologically advanced M car so far. When BMW let it slip that the M5 would have all-wheel-drive, some were terrified that it would kill the car’s storied handling. Not to worry:. BMW M GmbH gave drivers a brand-new M-tuned xDrive all-wheel-drive system, but it also gave us the ability to turn it off to enjoy M5 in a tail-happy rear-wheel-drive mode as well.

To make those rear wheels break loose—if we want them to—the M5’s 4.4-liter V8 makes 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s 40 more horses and 53 more “torques,” as Jeremy Clarkson would say, than the fifth-generation M5, which was no slouch.

The only gearbox available is a new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. The new M5 moves from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds—yes, quicker than any M5 that went before it—and it’s available through BMW dealers now. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $102,600 plus a $995 destination-and-handling charge.

Trudy Hardy, vice-president of marketing BMW of North America, accepted the 2018 World Performance Car Award for BMW. The M5 beat the following cars for the title: Honda Civic Type R, Lexus LC 500, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Audi RS 3 sedan, Audi RS 5 coupe, Ferrari Portofino, Hyundai i30N, Renault Alpine A110, Suzuki Swift Sport, and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Suzuki Swift Sport?!

The annual World Car Awards have been given out for the past fourteen years, and have been rated as the number-one awards program in the world for the last five years by Prime Research. The World Car Awards reflect the global automotive marketplace and recognize automotive achievement on an international scale. The M5 was the standard-bearer for BMW this year as the 2018 World Performance Car. The other World Car Awards presented in New York in March included the Volvo XC60 as the World Car Of The Year, the Audi A8 as the World Luxury Car, the Range Rover Velar as the World Car Design, the Nissan Leaf as the World Green Car, and the Volkswagen Polo as the World Urban Car.

Given those categories, if we had to make a choice, we would prefer a BMW to be the World Performance Car, so as far as we’re concerned, that worked out well.—Scott Blazey

   

[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]

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